I was very excited arriving to Clemson University, SC this year. I arrived at SC on May 29th (Sunday), 2011; I had a good flight and a nice trip from the airport to the Clemson apartments. Our first lab meeting was on Wednesday. Every graduate students and REU students were present. Dr. Juan Gilbert gave a small demo of each project explaining each of them and what we had to accomplish by the end of the summer. Once all the projects have been explained the REU students choose up to three projects in order of preference. My decisions were Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), Cable Labs Project (Online Gaming Studies), and Prime III (voting system). Once we have chosen the projects, then we the REU/DREU students have the privilege to meet with the team leaders of each project which were the PhD. students. On Thursday, we had another meeting, but this was just dedicated to Prime III. This project is the biggest and most important project for the summer. My duties for this project is to implement the multilanguage systems once it has been re-written by my colleagues. In the meeting all the new additions were explained and specific tasks were given to each one in the project. By the end of the week, I was getting more information regarding the projects and getting more comfortable with them.
This week was dedicated to meetings and planning. My first meeting was with Brain-Computer Interface (BCI). During this meeting, we brainstormed all the ideas that we had. By the end of the meeting we came up with three new project ideas. There were some steps that we had to do first which are: fill out the IRB forms and do some literature review. I became in charge of the first part of the studies. The first part of the studies is to measure the engagement levels of the participants. There will be two different populations, one is the video game learners and the second one is the ones learning by reading. The purpose of these studies is to determine if students are more engaged while they are learning visually versus just text. My second meeting was with the Cable Labs Project. This project's purpose is to determine the user's performance while they play online video games with bad connection. Our meeting was to organize the ideas and decide which games we were going to test. Also, to discuss the taxonomy of the games. On Thursday, one of the group members and I had toplay and test one of the video games with low connection. The game tested was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
During this week my time was dedicated for the preparationf of the BCI IRB forms and the literature review. While filling out IRB forms, the filler needs to make sure that everything is correct and nothing is left out. The IRB forms I was working on was the expedited forms. Once I had the IRB forms filled out I had to send it to my group members for review, then we had to meet with mentor for the final reviews. For the literature review side, my BCI team leader sent two papers to read, I was dedicating my time to read those papers as well. During the week, I came up with a new BCI idea. I discussed this idea with the BCI team leader and he suggested for me to prepare a short power-point presentation, so I can present it to the group. For the Cable Labs Project, we had several meetings to prepare the IRB protocol and work more on the taxonomy of the video games. For the Prime III project, we just had a big meeting, so my colleagues can talk about their progress with the re-writing of the codes.
This week was similar as the others as well, but I would say a little bit slower than the others because of the IRB process. Starting with BCI, the IRB forms were submitted by Dr. Gilbert to the Review Board. We had to wait for the approval of the forms. In the mean time, I was gathering more information for the new idea and doing some literature review for this project. For the Cable Labs Project, we had more meetings for the preparation of the protocol and I had to test and play the second part of the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. For the Prime III project, there was another big meeting, but during this meeting there was a problem. The voting system needs a printer that prints vertical for user accessibilities. Unfortunately, most of the printers do not print as the way is required. So, my mentor gave me the task to find a printer that fulfills the need of the voting system.
The fifth week is the week of the long weekend. In this week, we did not have a Prime III meeting, but I was able to find a printer that suits the need of the voting system and found a way to build special tools to mount it on the table. For the cable labs project, the group had a private meeting with our mentor to review the final drafts of the IRB protocols. We made some changes as he suggested and going to finalize the protocol by next week. During this week there was not need to test the video game. For the BCI project, we had a group meeting discussing the IRB forms in which have been approved. After the long weekend, I will have to prepare the studies and do demo tests before recruiting participants, once I have completed those tasks I will have to recruit participants. Also, the BCI team leader and I will concentrate to obtain relevant research papers. Once we discussed all the tasks for the upcoming weeks, I had the chance to present my new idea. This was the first time, that I have presented a research proposal to a group of PhD. students. I received many questions and suggestions. In the bottom line, they liked the idea and would like to proceed as a long term project. My new tasks for this new idea is to outline a concept paper and gather more information about it.
During the long weekend, I had the chance to walk around campus and get familiar with the Clemson community.
Now, that the IRB forms have been approved, the next step was to recruit participants and conduct a pilot studies for testing purposes. This week I was able to recruit more than 10 participants in Clemson University and its surrounding areas. Besides, recuting and preparation for the studies, I started in breaking down and writing an outline for the new idea which I have contributed to the group.
This week was only dedicated for the studies. I was able to conduct 15 studies in this week. Even though, before conducting the studies I ran through some complications. The code was not working and one of the Emotiv EPOC devices was not working. So, I had to reschedule my first participant which later on the day he was be able to perform the studies. Meanwhile, I started building a Google site for the BCI team where research papers, conferences information, our papers, and other information can be stored there.
In this week I continued conducting the studies for BCI. Also, I worked on the poster template which we have to present next week. At the end of the week, I finished conducting the studies with a total of 26 participants. Once done with the studies, I analyzed the data collected during the studies.
The summer program is coming to and end. I was still working on the poster and analyzing the data. There was a lot of EEG and assessments data to analyze. Besides working on the poster and analyzing the data I was working on the first draft of the BCI paper which I had to send to the BCI team for review purposes.
This is the last week of the summer program. During this week, I wrapped up everything. I worked on the final report of my project, finalized this web-site and continued working on the BCI paper which we are planning to publish during the Fall semester. Also, I met for the last time with my advisor to talk about possibilites for graduate school for Human-Centered Computing (HCC). At the end of the week I flew back to my hometown with new knowledge and prepared for the Fall semester.